The Continuing Adventures of Mildred and Suzette…
By Katie B. Goode
The Reluctant Cougar
Suzette sighed as Eduardo walked away from their table, the heat melding his once crisp shirt to his taut muscles.
“Did you ever think about dating a younger man?” Mildred asked, trying to remember if her husband, George, ever had muscles.
“Well, I had dinner with Earl last night and he’s five years younger than the last guy I dated,” Suzette said, brightening. “That makes him only 15 years older than me!”
“Oh! I forgot! How’d it go?”
“I was mesmerized.”
“Really?!” Mildred said, knowing the scarcity of single men in the area and hopeful for her single friend.
Suzette spiraled her finger in an upwards motion. “He had this curly hair growing on top of his nose. It must have been an inch long. I couldn’t take my eyes off it.”
“Well, if you’ve got it…” Mildred said, trying to be encouraging. “At least this one was ambulatory, right?”
“And he had a successful business somewhere in northern Ontario. Selling pig feed I think.”
“So! He isn’t looking for, as they say down here, a nurse or a purse! That’s promising.”
“Yeah, no nurse or purse, but getting ready for a hearse,” Suzette said, staring into her margarita.
Mildred watched Eduardo move between the kitchen and terazza as he delivered the day’s special to two other lunch ladies who seemed, from their body language, to be flirting with him.
“Cougars!” Mildred said.
“You know. Women who prey on younger men.”
Suzette laughed at the thought and smiled at Eduardo as he passed by. Mildred gave her a knowing look.
“No way!” Suzette said. “I admit to admiration, but I’m hardly the huntress. Besides, I read cougars are 30 or 40-somethings. I think that puppy has barked,” she said, oblivious to her mixed metaphor.
“Well then, maybe there should be another word for women of an ‘indeterminate age’ interested in men for whom World War II is a history lesson, not a life experience,” said Mildred.
Suzette nodded in agreement. “A guy who thinks ‘stroke’ refers to his tennis or golf swing, not his medical records.”
“A man who talks about show biz acts instead of cataracts.”
“A guy who uses a scuba tank, not an oxygen tank.”
Mildred and Suzette sat quietly, reflecting on the possibilities.
“I think you should go for it,” Mildred said finally, looking over at Eduardo.
“Eduardo? Don’t you dare!” Suzette hissed.
“Oh, Eduar-do!” Mildred called.
Eduardo moved to their table, his stride youthful and full of purpose. “Señoras?” he asked, his smile glistening white.
“Suzette was just admiring your painting of that beautiful woman,” Mildred said, pointing to the nearby wall. “Is that your wife?”
“No, no, Señora,” Eduardo said, proud that the restaurant had hung a few of his paintings. “No tengo esposa.”
“Ohhhh…,” Mildred said, turning to Suzette. “What was it you wanted to ask Eduardo?”
Suzette froze and gazed up at the handsome 40ish waiter, thinking maybe Earl wasn’t that old. And maybe he’d even shave his nose for her someday. “Mas margaritas, por favor?” Suzette asked, her voice a squeak.
The two friends looked at one another and burst out laughing as a confused Eduardo shook his head and walked away.
Gringas, he thought.